The American Samoa Government and Congresswoman Aumua Amata, as well as the US State Department, have filed separate notices of their intent to appeal against the US citizenship ruling issued by a federal court in Salt Lake City.
In his December 12, 2019 ruling, US District Court Judge Clark Waddoups of the federal court in Salt Lake City declared that "Persons born in American Samoa are citizens of the United States by virtue of the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
Under federal law, persons born in American Samoa are US Nationals, but Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that this statute "is unconstitutional both on its face and as applied to Plaintiffs" who are three American Samoans living in Utah.
The Judge stayed his rule the following day, while the case goes through the appeal process.
The US State Department, along with other senior officials, through their federal legal team filed their appeal notice last Friday with the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal based in Denver, Colorado.
Through their US based attorney Michael Williams, the territorial government and Congresswoman, who are intervenors in the case, will file their appeal notice on Monday.
Mr Williams said from Washington D.C. that defendants and intervenors have 40-days after the record is certified from the lower court to file their opening briefs.
On behalf of the American Samoa Government and Congresswoman Aumua Amata, Michael Williams said, "his clients are pleased to have the opportunity to explain to the Court of Appeals how harmful it is as a matter of self-determination to have a United States Judge in Utah change the status of American Samoan nationals against their will."
He had said, after Judge Waddoups ruling, that it's "unfortunate" the "Utah federal court's decision was dismissive about the self-determination of the American Samoan people and the distinctive cultural traditions that make Samoa special."
The federal government moved to dismiss the case, arguing among other things that only the US Congress has the authority to grant US citizenship to outlying US territories such as American Samoa, and this has not been done to American Samoa.
The territorial government and the Congresswoman both support the defendants.